All Activities

All Activities

This lesson, a companion to the Drip Drop! music video, explores how climate change impacts the water cycle in the context of media literacy.

Students observe that air under high pressure will move toward a low-pressure area and certain objects in the air’s path may move in the same direction.

This teaching box is filled with educational resources that help students explore the science of, and solutions to, air pollution.

Align tree ring cores of different ages to build up a long timeline of past climate data in this hands-on activity.

In this activity, students move chips representing sunlight, heat, and infrared radiation around a series of boards representing Earth and its atmosphere.

Air takes up space. It's only when air in the bottle escapes that more air is easily added!

In this activity, students brainstorm various ways that an uninflated balloon placed over a bottle's opening can be inflated without touching the balloon.

Find out how some wavelengths of light are scattered more than others producing blue skies and red sunsets.

Students observe that a change in the temperature of air can impact the size of a bubble placed on a bottle that is cooled and/or heated.
Are you in a place where snow falls in winter? If so, try catching snowflakes. Then take a close look. Can you find two snowflakes that look alike?

Students match graphs showing aspects of observed climate change with statements that describe the observations.

Elementary students learn about the climate zones of the world by interpreting graphs and identifying climate zones described in postcards.

Students use a deck of cards to model climate variability and longer-term trends in climate.

Use this cloud viewer to explore the clouds and sky outside. What type of clouds do you see? What color is the sky? Why do the clouds or colors vary?The Cloud Viewer was the invention of Teri Eastburn, UCAR Center for Science Education.  

An experiment that demonstrates why there are clouds in the sky. Start with air, invisible water vapor, particles we call condensation nuclei, and air pressure...the cloud comes later!

A collection of educational resources to bring cloud science to elementary students.

Students analyze the energy consumption of a hypothetical household to determine the amount of carbon dioxide they are adding to the atmosphere each year.

Use jelly beans to compare the compositons (amounts of different gases) of the atmospheres of Earth, Mars and Venus.

Students demonstrate their knowledge of interconnections between natural systems such as weather and climate and the built environment in which they live.

Students analyze and interpret data on a map of floodplains to assess risk of flooding inform decision making that will mitigate the effects of flooding.

In this hands-on activity, students experiment to discover how moisture, pressure, temperature, and condensation nuclei play a role in cloud formation.

Students will observe two scale models of Earth's atmosphere and the layers of the atmosphere to gain an appreciation for the size of the atmosphere compared to the planet Earth.

Students use a model to test actions for staying safe from the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. 

In this classroom activity, students investigate how clouds change over time by making repeat observations of a section of sky and then representing their data graphically.

In this graphing activity, students investigate Oxygen-18 data from ice cores used to investigate past climate.

Students learn about the urban heat island effect by investigating which areas of their schoolyard have higher temperatures. Then they analyze data about how the number of heat waves in an urban area has increased over time with population.

IntroductionIn this activity, students gather information about atmospheric scientific field projects in order to understand how a research question about the Earth system can be answered by collecting data using many different research platforms and instruments.

Students test the hypothesis that a 100-year flood happens once every hundred years, learning how the probability of a flood does not mean that floods happen at regular intervals.

Students review graphs and charts of severe weather data then answer "True and False" questions about the content conveyed.

Students compare photographs of glaciers to observe how Alaskan glaciers have changed over the last century.

This Greenhouse Gas Game enables students to interact with each other as they learn about the heat trapping properties of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. They learn that human actions are altering the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Teams explore how long it takes to reach the top of the Temperature Tracker based on human activity, with the winner taking the longest to reach the top of the Temperature Tracker.

Students investigate maps and data to learn where and when hurricanes form and how climate change may be affecting them.

On May 20, 2013, a devastating tornado occurred in Moore, Oklahoma. How did the people of Moore work to rebuild their community?

Students investigate three decades of tornado data through an interactive Story Map from Esri.

In this activity, students will construct models of the arrangement of water molecules in the three physical states. Students will understand that matter can be found in three forms or phases (solid, liquid, and gas).

Students research the 2013 Colorado floods, present the information they find, and summarize all information presented.

This hands-on inquiry activity alows students to explore how the color of materials that cover the Earth affects the amounts of sunlight it absorbs using a simple model.

Students observe how different materials bend light, and how we can infer the nature of the material based on the amount it bends light rays.

Students follow steps to dilute a colored dye in water until the dye is one part per million. Then students consider atmospheric gases that are present in trace qualitites, like ozone and discuss how pollutants can be hazardous at very small concentrations.

Students make a model of glacier motion and then design an experiment to figure out what affects the speed of a glacier.

Students create and investigate a physical model to explore how the resolution of a mathematical model impacts model results.

In this demonstration, students observe how temperature changes can create a weather front, in particular how the mixing of warm and cold air can produce thunderstorms.

In this activity, students use models to observe that air is a fluid that flows due to temperature-driven density differences.

In this activity, students create molecule models using marshmallows to understand and explain how smog forms.

In this hands-on activity, students explore how temperature affects the behavior of air molecules.

In this activity, students will observe and measure the water given off through transpiration by a plant in a small terrarium. 
IntroductionIn this activity, students will develop a model of a forest using plastic bottles and then observe and analyze changes in winds related to differences in forest density. 

Students create graphic organizers describing the four major air pollutants regulated by the U.S. Clean Air Act (ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide) and then identify the pollutants with a guessing game.

Students learn how to crush a can with only air pressure.

IntroductionIn this activity, students observe how rubber bands deteriorate, developing cracks or pits, in locations with different ozone levels.

Students will experiment to understand variations in the amount of ground-level ozone between different places in their neighborhood, town, or city.

Students examine "pollen" in simulated lake bottom sediment core samples to infer past climate in the vicinity of the lake.

Students learn that when light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and frequency (color) of the light.

Students analyze the energy consumption of a household appliance and estimate the amount of carbon dioxide it is adding to the atmosphere each year.

Use plungers to create a vacuum and learn about how air exerts pressure.

Students will investigate how different surfaces of the Earth reflect and absorb heat and apply this knowledge to real-world situations.

Using language arts, math, and measurement skills, elementary students explore rainfall data and learn how to measure precipitation through an interactive story. 

Students use a simple model to explore how roof colors can impact the temperature of an urban area.

In this activity, students will analyze data sets that show how carbon dioxide varies through the atmosphere at different latitudes, altitudes, and different times of year.

Students use a cloud identification guide to identify clouds in landscape paintings, then make their own art to identify cloud types.

Students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle to gain understanding of the varied pathways through the cycle and the relevance of nitrogen to living things.

Systems thinking is an important concept across the Earth sciences. In this game, students either are a part of a system or serve as scientists tasked with observing and making sense of the system moving in front of them.

Through a simple online model, students learn about the relationship between average global temperature and carbon dioxide emissions while predicting temperature change over the 21st Century.

Students investigate how thermal expansion of seawater impacts sea level.

Students review what scientists know and what they’re working to understand about the relationship between extreme weather events and climate change.

Students read news articles about Hurricane Irene, present information with classmates, and construct a timeline to describe the hurricane’s story over time and across geographic area, exploring what happened, how people were affected, and how they reacted.

Learn about Bernoulli's Principle with hair dryers and ping pong balls!

In this activity, students use a graph to make a hypothesis about the difference between urban heat in New York City streets and in Central Park.

In this computer-based virtual lab, students will learn about the layers of Earth's atmosphere by launching virtual balloons to collect temperature and pressure data at various altitudes. Given a limited number of balloon flights, students must plan carefully to gather data that generates a good "picture" of the atmosphere’s structure.

In this activity, students will build a model to simulate parts of the water cycle. They will be able to recognize and explain the essential elements of the water cycle.

Students create and observe wavelengths at both high and low energy levels using safety glasses, rope, and a power drill.

Students explore the relationship between weather and climate by graphing weather temperature data and comparing with climate averages.

In this activity, students will observe that a change in the temperature of air will determine its place in the atmosphere. Water, which behaves very similarly to air, is used in this demonstration. It flows in fluid currents in a visual manner in a see-through density tank.

In this activity, students will compare stories about a weather event from different media sources and different perspectives.

Students will use soda to explore how carbon dioxide is able to dissolve into liquid. They will learn about Henry's law, which describes how the solubility of gas into liquids is dependent on temperature and develop hypotheses about how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas, is affected by rising atmospheric and oceanic temperatures.

In this activity students get a sense of the many ways in which daily activities use natural resources and contribute to air pollution.

IntroductionIn this activity, students will play the roles of various atoms and molecules to help them better understand the formation and destruction of ozone in the stratosphere.

A collection of educational resources about the science of winter weather for primary grade students.